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Citizen Connect: There’s an app for if Grimace attacks

Sure, the city has received its share of phony reports via its CitizenConnect mobile app (the most public and hilarious being a report aboutthe McDonald’s purple Grimace monster strutting his stuff in browntrousers) but the app has actually proved to be a worthy investment forBoston, according to officials.

Sure, the city has received its share of phony reports via its Citizen Connect mobile app (the most public and hilarious being a report about the McDonald’s purple Grimace monster strutting his stuff in brown trousers) but the app has actually proved to be a worthy investment for Boston, according to officials.



“It has been tremendously successful,” said Justin Holmes, director of constituent engagement in Mayor Thomas Menino’s office.



Citizen Connect lets Bostonians instantly complain about inappropriate issues from their smartphones. From trash pickup delays to broken streetlights, potholes and graffiti, hundreds of requests flow in daily.



Holmes said they dismiss complaints he deemed “just silly,” like the Grimace sighting in Dorchester a few months ago, or the recent suggestion that Universal Hub take over The Boston Globe.

“We close those cases as invalid. Those are rare for us to receive,” said Holmes.



When a new version of the mobile app launched last year, city officials worried the privilege to report would be abused.



“Every once in a while someone sends something inappropriate, but that’s human nature,” he said.

Complaints that come off as slightly suspect are still handled accordingly, though.



Holmes said reports are diverted to various departments in the city and each incident is tracked and can be viewed publicly online.



People who file the complaints are notified when the problems are fixed.



Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear

 
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